Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ramsay in line for a windfall in TV sell-off

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is in line for a multimillion-pound windfall as part of a deal to sell the company behind many of his hit TV shows.

The fiery TV personality is in talks to sell his 50% stake in One Potato Two Potato — the production company which makes shows such as Ramsay's Best Restaurant, Gordon's Great Escape and Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong Live.

It is being sold as part of a takeover of Optomen Television, which co-owns One Potato Two Potato, by All3Media — thought to be worth around £40m.

The move is expected to net Mr Ramsay as much as £10m in what would come as a welcome financial boost after a troubled time for the chef.

His restaurant empire has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, coming close to the brink last year as revenues collapsed while debt and tax bills mounted up.

One of his gastro pubs — The Devonshire in Chiswick, West London — closed earlier this summer.

It is thought Mr Ramsay would pick up a hefty up front sum if the takeover of Optomen and One Potato Two Potato goes ahead, with the remainder of his haul due if the company meets performance targets over the next few years.

A spokesman for All3Media said: “All the parties can confirm they they are in advanced exclusive discussions and will issue a full statement in due course.”

Mr Ramsay would likely remain as a director of One Potato Two Potato, but not retain a shareholding.

He set up the production company with Optomen in 2008 to make all of his new programmes, but also to take many successful shows to the US.

The firm is producing MasterChef US and Gordon Ramsay Cookalong Live USA.

All3Media is also hoping to gain greater scale in America through the Optomen acquisition, adding to its existing US shows such as reality TV series Undercover Boss.

Optomen is also a major player in the sector, with a raft of programmes including Channel 4's Heston's Feast featuring chef Heston Blumenthal and Mary, Queen Of Shops, featuring Mary Portas.

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